The Fearless Vampire Killers @ The Toff – 17/03/2012
The door creaked open and spread out before me was the plush, padded interior of the Toff’s bandroom. The atmosphere was of a house of burlesque, low lights, red velvet curtains and people quietly sipping drinks in preparation for a night of sensory indulgence. Little did I suspect that the room would be turned into an exclusive saloon bar filled with a rather bloodthirsty crowd…
The Fearless Vampire Killers are a suave bunch of lads who formed the band as a bi-product of high school friendship, and after releasing their debut album Batmania in November last year, they’ve been touring Australia to promote it. The album has received a lot of airplay, most notably the single “For You & Me,” which was featured on the TV series 90210. Batmania is a strong, reasonably diverse offering with bluesy roots and a taste for vintage sounds, whilst still being accessible.
The Fearless Vampire Killers clearly have a zest for the finer things in life. The finer things in life being sex, booze and cigarettes. Their intoxicatingly hedonistic lyrics and lusty wails blaze over delectable vintage sounds. Their youthful energy still has an educated, world-wise edge to it but they’re not yet world-weary. They still have the energy that drove so many bands before them, and are clearly inspired by the ilk of the baby boomers’ bands in the 60s and 70s. They romanticise the ideals of a bygone era but manage to bring fresh energy to it and savour the most sinful and enticing bits. Fearless Vampire Killers are like a good scotch – they’ve got one hell of a kick but a mellow and complex flavour that leaves you dancing giddily around the room.
The real clincher though, is the translation from the album recording to the energy The Fearless Vampire Killers give to the songs live. Fearless Vampire Killers’ live performance dynamic is almost incomparable to the recordings on Batmania. Make no mistake, their debut album’s super-8-tinted surf-rock still has the raw, bluesy, yet pop-sensible and percussively driven appeal of the live show… it’s just a lot cleaner. The raw energy of their live show coupled with suave vocals and sliding guitar left me seduced yet shaking in my boots. I noticed the bassist had no visible chest hair (his shirt was 3 or 4 buttons down, I wasn’t looking specifically) but I was expecting it to burst forth at any minute as The Fearless Vampire Killers busted and grunted out such sweet tunes. You know you’ve got something when people are dancing like idiots at the Toff and screaming for an encore. Some bands have to be seen live to be enjoyed to their full potential, and The Fearless Vampire Killers is one of those bands.
The support act, Major Tom and the Atoms, are certainly worthy of mention too. Their original songs were great and the energy they brought was unfortunately unmatched by the audience; it seems there weren’t quite enough people in the bandroom yet to fill up the dancefloor. Singer Tom Hartney’s (Little Red) voice is a husky, honky-tonk dream and a talented band (who also had really entertaining facial expressions) underpins it with fast-paced blues and rhythm. The zeal they had on stage as an ensemble had me transfixed and I can’t wait for their next show, so I can take people with me who will actually dance.
When the night wound up and The Fearless Vampire Killers stumbled off stage, not a single vampire remained. Blood pumping in our veins, the audience left to savour the night and the living pleasures it entailed.
by Izzy Roberts-Orr